If I Could Read Your Mind

by Cindy Hanauer

Cindy HanauerIf you had the power to read someone’s mind, would you? I’ve often watched customers pick up a striking arrangement of flowers and admire it lovingly. Then the customers will start to walk away with a smile and 15 seconds later, spin back around and lay the arrangement back down! What were they thinking? If only I could read their mind.

Is the same true for your customers? What are they thinking? Is there something they're not telling you? Has a competitor come up with a better angle?

I decided to pose similar questions to a private network of 6,500 florists, and the answers they gave were compelling and insightful. I'd love to share the questions with you, and some of the most frequent responses. 

1:  What is the one thing you wish your wholesaler knew in order to serve you better?

Top 3 Most-Frequent Responses:

  • To let me know in advance of shortages, item substitutes or color substitutes with enough time to alert my important customers who've placed advance orders with me.
  • Show me they care for me as a good customer!
  • Send me advance price and inventory lists (fresh cuts and supplies) so I can do a better job of quoting my customers. Many times, I'm forced to quote in the blind because of little inventory and pricing visibility from my wholesaler.  

2:  What are your top criteria for selecting a wholesaler?

Top 3 Most-Frequent Responses:

  • Service: Quality Product, Fair Pricing and Quick Responsiveness
  • If an error was made, just tell me.
  • My customers come first, and I can't always predict what they'll do or what they'll ask for.

3:  What are the deciding factors between buying at your local wholesaler versus buying flowers online?

Top 3 Most-Frequent Responses:

  • My wholesaler is smart. They realized that I live in an under-served area and started running a truck in my area. Now, I don't need to order online.
  • It's not uncommon for me to only be able to order flowers at 5am or 11pm, when I’m able to concentrate outside of business hours (in PJs and slippers).
  • If my wholesaler had a way for me to see their inventory and order online from them after business hours, I'd do it. 

4:  Hypothetically, if all other wholesalers are average, what does your favorite wholesaler do that keeps them on top?

 Top 3 Most-Frequent Responses:

  • My “fave” calls or emails me frequently to tell me about new products that just came in and shares all the details!
  • When my wholesalers must substitute a product, they go so far as to take their phone camera into the cooler and send me pictures of other options, so I know in advance what I'll have to fill my orders.
  • When I have a quality issue, my wholesaler responds immediately and offer solutions.

5:  On a scale of 1 (not very important) to 10 (extremely important), how important is the lowest cost when selecting a wholesaler?

Top 3 Most-Frequent Responses:

  • I must advocate for my customers, or I wouldn't be in business, but quality is most important because I base my shop's reputation on it. (Score ranking: 5)
  • My wholesaler's prices are a little higher than others, but they balance it out with great deals and awesome communication. (Score ranking: 5)
  • I don't mind paying more, because my customer will pay more for top quality and great variety. (Score ranking: 5)

Share Your Thoughts

  • Did any of the answers surprise you? Which ones?
  • What question(s) would you like to ask the florist community? Share it here and we'll find out!
  • Is there something deep inside your mind that a florist would love to know? Tell us about it!


About Our Writer

Cindy Hanauer was born into a 4-generation lineage of florists, with her ancestors emigrating from Germany in 1875 to open their first florist shop and greenhouse in the United States. As a small child in the 1960's, Cindy watched and learned how the perseverance and strong work ethic of her maternal grandparents could deliver the delight of plants and flowers to thousands. The floral industry became part of her DNA.

In 1974, Cindy began her 40-year career at the very beginning of the mass market floral industry, holding leadership positions in every segment of the business: Retail Sales, Visual Merchandising, Product Development, Field Training, Category Management, Marketing, Quality Assurance, and Supply Chain. From there, she expanded her career into the technology side of the industry by successfully managing the Merchandising, Quality Assurance and Supply Chain of a major e-commerce floral and gift platform. 

Today, Cindy shares her knowledge and experience with all channels of the floriculture industry from supply chain to consumer. She's a veteran speaker who’s appeared in major radio and television, and is a published educator in major trade magazines and newspapers. Cindy has an industry following of 10,000+ on social media, her B2B website and weekly B2B e-newsletter, GrandCentralFloral.com

Cindy is currently a trustee for the American Floral Endowment and has donated her time to over ten other industry trade organizations. She's an award-winning visual merchant and a technology enthusiast. In her Northeast Florida community, Cindy is a philanthropic vocalist and performs with three vocal organizations where 100% of the concert proceeds are donated to local organizations who provide free family services, medical support, dreams and comfort to children with terminal or life-threatening illnesses.

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